This report seeks approval for the adoption of a Pets Policy in respect of the management of council tenancies.
Housing and Customer Services Working Group is asked to recommend to Cabinet:
· the adoption of the Pets Policy April 2020
· give delated authority to the Group Head of Residential Services in conjunction with the Cabinet Member for Residential Services to make minor changes to the policy.
The Neighbourhood Services Manager advised the Working Group that the report requests that they make a recommendation to Cabinet to approve a Pets Policy in respect of the management of Council tenancies. As a landlord of social housing ADC is responsible for ensuring that pets kept in its properties are managed responsibly to ensure they do not cause a nuisance to other residents and or do not cause damage to its homes. The introduction of this policy would provide clear controls and guidance to residents and staff to prevent irresponsible pet ownership, that historically had resulted in suffering to animals, nuisance to neighbours and damage to properties. As a Council it was recognised that there are benefits to keeping a pet, in particular for residents who have mental health issues, however there was a need to ensure that this was balanced with the rights of all residents to live in a peaceful environment.
A full debate was had by the Working Group, a summary of the points made are detailed below;
§ Clarification was sought about how decisions would be made if the policy was adopted and would decisions be made retrospectively. It was confirmed that decisions would not be made retrospectively. For new tenants making a request, they would need to submit an application in writing. For existing tenants, the Council would continue to work on a reactive basis to any complaints made, however all tenants would be issued with the Policy should it be adopted.
§ It was confirmed that should the policy be adopted that tenancy audits would be completed in order to help the Council record who and where there were pets being housed. It was felt that this way it would promote a working relationship with the Council and its tenants to work together, in particular should circumstance have found that a property had, had any damage caused by the pet.
The Neighbourhood Services Manager and the Group Head of Residential Services explained to the Working Group that each case would be dealt with based on individual circumstances. This policy was a starting point to enable the Council to manage any issues that were presented moving forward as well as ensuring that the Council was able to protect its housing stock where required.
There was some favour from Members to make an amendment to the wording set out in paragraph 4.5 (What we consider suitable in our properties) the second bullet point which currently reads as set out below;
“Flats, or Maisonettes, without private gardens; we will not give permission for cats and dogs. We may consider giving permission for smaller domestic pets in cages.”
It was felt by some that, not allowing residents without a private garden the ability to have a small cat or dog was unfair and should be reconsidered. The Group Head of Residential Services explained that whilst she understood where the Members concern was coming from in particular to elderly residents, that the Council needed to start somewhere in managing issues that were ongoing and could arise in the future. She also advised Members that she would be happy to relook at the wording for this point as well as reconfirming that each individuals’ circumstances would be considered.
Pendleton put forward a proposal to change the wording at paragraph
4.5 set out below additions are shown in italics
and deletions are shown using
or Maisonettes, without private gardens; we
may give permission for a domestic cat s
and dogs depending on circumstances. We
may consider giving permission for smaller domestic pets in
This amendment was seconded by Councillor B Blanchard-Cooper.
On this being put to the vote it was declared LOST.
The Working Group therefore
RECOMMEND TO CABINET - That:
1. the Pets Policy April 2020 be adopted
2. delated authority be given to the Group Head of Residential Services in conjunction with the Cabinet Member for Residential Services to make minor changes to the policy.